Donald Trump Resolute on Tariffs and Trade: I Was Elected to Protect Our Workers

Trump Supporters
AP Photo/Lance Iversen

President Donald Trump was resolute on his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, promising to stand for American workers despite complaints from foreign leaders and company CEOs in the United States.

“I’m here to protect and one of the reasons I was elected was I’m protecting our workers, I’m protecting our companies,” Trump said during a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Tuesday.

Löfven met with the president about the European Union’s reaction to the proposed tariffs, warning that they might raise tariffs on other American products but Trump did not appear to be impressed.

“The European Union has not treated us well and it’s been a very, very unfair trade situation,” Trump said.

He shrugged off the suggestion that his actions would spark a trade war.

“It’s not so bad, you understand what I mean by that?” he asked. He explained that with such large trade deficits, other countries had more to lose.

“The trade war hurts them, It doesn’t hurt us. So we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Trump proposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and ten percent on aluminum as part of the ongoing negotiations on trade. During the press conference, he hinted that was possible for Canada or Mexico to avoid the tariffs if they were willing to make concessions on NAFTA.

Trump noted that he spoke to world leaders since he became president who admitted that they were getting away with great deals at the expense of the United States. He reminded reporters of his tough talk on trade for years.

“I’ve been saying it for 25 years,” he said. “Our country has been taken advantage of by everybody — almost everybody. And we cannot let that happen any longer.”

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